NSCSW response to COVID-19

Social distancing measures continue to be necessary for protection of the public during this challenging time.

What this means for our office

If you wish to visit our office in Halifax, please make an appointment first, to make sure that the office will be open that day and to confirm that the person you need to speak with will be available in person. 

  • All visitors will be asked health screening questions when they make an appointment, and again when they arrive at our office. 
  • We are collecting visitor names and contact information in case contact tracing becomes necessary.
  • The public health order requires non-medical masks to be worn in all common areas of the building (lobby, elevators, restrooms, hallways, etc.) unless you are exempt from wearing one for a valid medical reason.

Our small but dedicated team of staff are on a telework rotation. When working remotely, our staff continue to check voice mail and email regularly, and will respond to all messages as soon as we can. Most meetings are being held via teleconference. 

We continue to fulfil our essential regulatory functions, including license renewal. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch by email or telephone if you have questions or need support. 

What this means for social workers

Social workers are supporting communities that are affected or fearful of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Some of our members have asked for guidance on specific topics; we hope Alec’s recent blog posts about telepracticesocial work practice during emergency situations, and taking time for reflection are helpful.

Public health guidelines continue to change as more becomes known; we encourage all members to stay up to date on guidance and regulations that may apply to your practice. The Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) is helping social workers stay up to date with the latest information by maintaining a page on their website with helpful, reliable resources for health care professionals, the public, and communities.

Private practice

Public health approved guidelines for reopening private practice offices in Nova Scotia beginning June 5, 2020. These guidelines were updated in October with additional information.

Please review these documents carefully, as compliance is required in order for Private Practitioners to resume offering in-person services for elective and non-urgent care. Do not hesitate to reach out to the College if you have any questions about these guidelines.

Personal Protective Equipment

In January 2021, the Department of Health and Wellness offered to supply Private Practitioners with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at no cost until March 31, 2021. A requisition process has been created so that practitioners can quickly apply to access the province’s central inventory of PPE.


The Department of Health and Wellness and NS Health have advised that private practitioners of social work should expect to be included in Phase 3 of the province’s immunization plan, which focuses on all Nova Scotians who did not receive the vaccine in earlier phases.


The NSCSW has been in conversation with our government partners about the potential of boosting staff levels should the pandemic continue, in order to ensure that the delivery of core social work services are maintained in times of disaster and emergencies.

We all hope that it does not come to this. However, we want to be prepared.

The NSCSW has a process in place to quickly reinstate retired social workers for the purpose of emergencies and disasters, to ensure services to the most vulnerable in our society are continued. If you are willing and able, please contact Executive Director/Registrar Alec Stratford at Alec.Stratford@NSCSW.org for more details.

Professional development

Professional development guidelines for social workers were temporarily changed for 2020, to accommodate and encourage self-care and reflection, and because many professional development opportunities had been cancelled or postponed (including our own 2020 conference). These guidelines reverted to normal for 2021 now that many more opportunities have been adapted for online delivery; most active members will need to complete at least 20 hours of formal activities, and so on.

We are continuing to offer online professional development to serve our members’ learning needs; our programming has included webinars offered in partnership with the CASW and open to their members across Canada, interactive workshops that require live participation, and free events open to the public. We are also planning a conference and annual general meeting that will be held online May 14-15, 2021. All College events will be posted on our website, and announcements will be included in the member newsletter.

The CASW has a robust collection of online resources for professional development. Members of our College have free access to all of their webinars, their online journal, and a full-text journal database. Visit the CASW website to learn more.

This page was last updated April 22, 2021.